Should Athletes Skip Breakfast

 

Choosing A Healthy Breakfast

Video taken from the channel: LivingHealthyChicago


 

THIS IS WHAT AN ATHLETE’S BREAKFAST SHOULD LOOK LIKE

Video taken from the channel: Sheldon Tweedie


 

Breakfast for Athletes

Video taken from the channel: Stamford Hospital


 

Skipping Breakfast is Bad? New Study Results

Video taken from the channel: Thomas DeLauer


 

Should You Skip Breakfast?

Video taken from the channel: Paul Revelia


 

Should You Eat Breakfast Before You Run In The Morning?

Video taken from the channel: Lone Endurance


 

What Athletes Eat Before They Compete

Video taken from the channel: As/Is


But if food first thing grosses you out or you wake up feeling full, then skipping breakfast might be your best bet. Force feeding only leads to consuming excess calories and ignoring your body’s natural hunger cues. The temptation to skip breakfast for a few precious minutes of sleep is understandable, and for athletes, to their own detriment. When we wake up in the morning our body is dehydrated from an evening of mouth-breathing water vapor.

Glycogen stores are basically empty. Our metabolism is running on idle. “An athlete who is eating relatively healthy is not going to gain an edge by skipping breakfast,” says sports nutritionist Barbara Lewin. Without that fuel, endurance athletes lack the get-up-and-go to push themselves as hard. A hungry athlete’s muscles won’t respond as well either.

If you have a good grasp on your fitness and eating habits and just simply do not enjoy breakfast, don’t feel bad about skipping it. There is plenty of time throughout the day to get the calories and nutrients your body and mind need without cramming it in as soon as you jump out of bed. Breakfast, we’re often told, is the most important meal of the day. It certainly seems that way to me – I can’t imagine making it to noon without eating. But the literature is much more mixed.

Without question, breakfast is the meal that makes champions. Unfortunately, many active people follow a lifestyle that eliminates breakfast or includes foods that are far from champion-builders. I commonly counsel athletes who skip breakfast, grab only a light lunch, train on fumes, gorge at dinner and snack on “junk” until bedtime. Whether you break your fast first thing in the morning or much later in the day, our athletes agree that a kick-ass first meal should deliver the energy and nutrients you need to tango with your day’s to-do list. If you want to train like an athlete, or aspire to.

I recommend skipping breakfast daily and break your fast 6-8 hours after you wake up. The reason for this is that it is easier to fall asleep at night if you are satiated rather than hungry. More sleep translates into better recovery.

When it comes to athletes, a decent breakfast should contain 500-750 calories, consisting of roughly 50% carbs, 30% from protein and 20% from healthy fats. Ideal carb sources are fiber-loaded fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals and whole grain breads; to meet the protein and healthy fat requirements, opt for nuts, seeds, eggs, peanut. Whether you eat or skip breakfast has no effect on the amount of calories you burn throughout the day.

This is a myth.

List of related literature:

A common reason college athletes give for skipping breakfast is the lack of time.

“Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition” by Heather Hedrick Fink, Lisa A. Burgoon, Alan E. Mikesky
from Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition
by Heather Hedrick Fink, Lisa A. Burgoon, Alan E. Mikesky
Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2006

Athletes often neglect breakfast, then wonder why they’re tired while running in the evening.

“Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide” by Hal Higdon
from Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide
by Hal Higdon
Rodale Books, 2005

Most weekday mornings he has a multivitamin, a couple cups of much-needed coffee, a bowl of cereal or a few pieces of whole-grain toast with peanut butter, and a bottle of sports drink mix if he has a morning workout.

“Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health & Life” by Ben Greenfield
from Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health & Life
by Ben Greenfield
Victory Belt Publishing, 2017

Athletes should eat breakfast daily, “breaking the fast” from the overnight sleep.

“Practical Applications In Sports Nutrition BOOK ALONE” by Heather Fink, Alan Mikesky, Lisa Burgoon
from Practical Applications In Sports Nutrition BOOK ALONE
by Heather Fink, Alan Mikesky, Lisa Burgoon
Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2011

When it comes to meals for athletes, it’s rare for a day to be made up of a traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

“The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes” by Biju K. Thomas, Allen Lim, PhD
from The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes
by Biju K. Thomas, Allen Lim, PhD
VeloPress, 2011

If athletes are going to take a few days off between intense training sessions, the timing of the postevent meal becomes less important.

“Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine” by Lyle J. Micheli, M.D.
from Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine
by Lyle J. Micheli, M.D.
SAGE Publications, 2010

However, a breakfast that includes eggs, meat, or cheese—all high in both protein and fats—will take longer to digest, so you would do better not to eat foods like these before you train.

“The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revis” by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Dobbins
from The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revis
by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Dobbins
Simon & Schuster, 2012

Many schools provide breakfast.

“American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, Revised and Updated 4th Edition” by Roberta Larson Duyff
from American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, Revised and Updated 4th Edition
by Roberta Larson Duyff
HMH Books, 2012

The lead author of the study, Leah Cahill, summarized this simply: “Skipping breakfast may lead to one or more risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and

“The Shredded Chef: 120 Recipes for Building Muscle, Getting Lean, and Staying Healthy” by Michael Matthews
from The Shredded Chef: 120 Recipes for Building Muscle, Getting Lean, and Staying Healthy
by Michael Matthews
Createspace Independent Pub, 2012

Athletes who come to practice tired because they stayed up too late, hungry because they skipped breakfast to sleep a little longer, or injured because they didn’t see the trainer for rehabilitation—these athletes are likely to experience impairing emotions such as fatigue, confusion, depression, and distress.

“Applying Educational Psychology in Coaching Athletes” by Jeffrey J. Huber
from Applying Educational Psychology in Coaching Athletes
by Jeffrey J. Huber
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2012

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

[email protected]

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32 comments

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  • I am trying for 1600 meters in 5 minutes.
    I mostly run empty stomach in the morning. So should eat carbs like few black grams before run?

  • Love how you speak authentically and back up your preach with logic. Educational and exciting to hear someone stand up for body wisdom.

  • Hey man, do you eat all organic? what’s your thoughts on that? How do you feel now with a more varied diet compared to being all raw fruitarian previously? cheers

  • Yes I agree, for my Grandparents there was no desk breakfast and no such thing as snacks, and they also ate dinner at 5pm, so breakfast was important. If you’re eating every few hours and only cook dinner at 9pm, it’s not a necessity.

  • I microwave myself two eggs to go on my toast every morning. Sure they aren’t as good as stove cooked eggs, but I can get them done in under a minute, and end up with very little to wash up, so it’s a win win for me ��‍♀️

    I put them in about a centimetre of water, which poaches them (YUM), and means I’m not needing to grease the little ceramic pot.

    Definitely make sure to spike the yolk though, otherwise things will get messy ������

  • At first I felt lack of energy when I went for a run on a empty stomach, but after some time I got used to it, my body adapted and now I prefer running in a fasted state. The more important factor is hydration.

  • I just eat a banana 30 mins before going for run in the morning it gives me just enough energy it works for me, after I finish I take a protein shake.

  • Ummm not trying to start something but chess is not a sport and the individuals who play chess are not athletes. They are incredibly smart people, but not athletes

  • My compartment syndrome only allows me to run for 30 mins so it doesn’t matter if I eat breakfast is what I got from this. Can’t wait until I can get the surgery so I can go on long runs again.

  • insulin resistance in the morning is lowest. a small oatmeal in the morning lowers cortisol. it aids my weight loss. skipping breakfast wrecked my metabolism. a small portion of low glycemic carbs for breakfast is perfect for good energy and weight loss. the rest of the day keto is good

  • Breakfast, to me, is essential. Why on earth should we omit breakfast before running if we do eat it on a daily basis WITH NO running?
    The best treatment I ever found is on McMillan’s website. He explains specific situation where eating breakfast is mandatory (i.e. intervals/repeats, pace stepping-up long runs, etc.), and other ones i.e. steady long runs where it could be omitted.
    Sugar is also far from being the best choice as a nutrient in advanced marathoning. Cereal crackers or so, 1 to 1,5 hrs before training, will work best (IMHO). As a ruler of thumb, I used to eat 1 or two bananas when 21 km distance is overcome, prior to continuing my way. Thanks!

  • Great subject. Thanks for the info. I always run on empty first thing in the morning and often feel sluggish and my pace is around 6min/kms. I will experiment with maybe eating some fruit before I head out and see if that improves both my energy and performance. Btw Mikkel, do you drink coffee??

  • First off I don’t like the music in the background lol. I have ran over 40 marathons with ten Bostons in a row and I have found that for me eating prior to running is the way to go. I feel that I need the carbs to help me run my fastest. For a marathon I eat, then take 4 gels, one every 40 minutes or so and about 20oz of sports drink per hour during the race. Marathon fueling is different for everyone, you really need the experience of racing to find what works for you.

  • This is a great discussion. I run 4 days a week, anywhere between 3-10 miles per run. I intermittent fast on most days and typically run fasted for all my runs with the exception of anything over 10. On race (1/2 marathons and marathons) days I always eat and wonder if my fasted training is helping or hurting me on race day. I typically don’t bonk during the week and I do not steer away from complex carbs:). But admittedly, I do love nut butters and avocados: ). Thanks for bringing up the topic, I look forward to learning more. I am going to try your suggestion of bringing some gels on my longer runs to eat after an hour or so 😉

  • You’ve nailed it Paul, with the governmental-industrial-contheo! Jeff Nippard did a video on this topic, and he mentions a study paper did somewhere back in the 1930s or so, which “scientifically” stated that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, and guess what… It was fully sponsored by Mr. Kellogg… the cereal guy.

  • I always eat breakfast, usually in the afternoon. Sometimes I skip a day, other times, I eat before noon. Breakfast, the first meal after having slept for the night, or two, when hungry. Other meals are inessential. Wait till after evacuation of the bowel is a good mode.

  • Studies were done with IF and eating all day. In the end…both weight loss was very close…however, the person who fasted lost a considerable amount of more fat than the person who just ate all day. This is due to ketosis and your body using fat stores as it knows no food is coming. If you’re training and lifting everyday…IF is very good as your body produces growth hormone as a result of IF. So basically…if you want to reduce your fat stores yet still wanting to gain muscle….IF has been proven through multiple studies to achieve just that. So dont eat when u get up. Ie…if you r up at 8am…dont eat until noon or 1…then consume your first meal. Makesure in that time your last meal is at no later than 8p. I myself am down 26lbs in under 3 months. I’ve also found energy levels heavily increased and have less joint pain. And of course the more body weight or fat I lost….the increasingly better i felt. So consume all your calories in one short window. This allows your body to keep insulin levels low and attack your fat cells more for fuel all the while u can consume what you want to or need to in order to get even more gains or just to feel satisfied.

  • Intermittent fasting doesn’t mean you skip breakfast at all….It just means that you will most likely eat it at a different time than normal people…

  • Bro am baker so that term has not changed for me… if I skip breakfast.. I just cannot work…. baker job is hard bro and there r many other jobs that r hard….
    Good for office jobs

  • I started skipping my breakfast as a means to IF, cause I had plateaued in my progress, best decision ever. Now I’m back on track! Keep it up guys!

  • You nailed it! Depends on the person! That’s most important thing and I’m glad you are an advocate of that approach! Love ur stuff

  • I did IF for two months and now have combined it keto for the past month. I’m down to 206 from 255. I workout everyday at 5am then my first meal is at 12pm, final meal no later than 7pm. My energy level is great and hunger now usually only comes in during my feeding times as mentioned in the video. I have been in and out of the gym since my teen years. So since my return to the gym I’m experiencing the “newbie gains” with weekly I’m improvements in all lifts while maintaining an IF/keto diet.

  • The line “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” was invented in the 19th century by Seventh Day Adventists James Caleb Jackson and John Harvey Kellogg to sell their newly invented breakfast cereal.

  • When it comes to eating healthy, you must never fall victim to modern fad diet plans. Extreme diets are a risk for your health, especially ones that seriously restrict your every day nutritionary intake. Many of these fad diet plans work for a short period of time and then the benefits decrease after a while. It is best to search Custokebon Secrets on google as it isn’t just another fad diet where you starve yourself.

  • I love fasting! It really helps me stick to my nutrition plan. Plus it takes the stress away from cooking breakfast in the morning ha ha. I don’t get hungry until 1 anyways

  • I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for a while and I’ve never felt better. I don’t trust anything that comes from those shitty studies or information that comes from all those pharmaceutical funded “heart associations.” This is coming from a cardiovascular ICU nurse. Stay healthy folks! Peace

  • But Paul what about the gains! I too don’t get hungry in the morning but I’ve been having some coffee mixed with some protein powder. I rather get in that extra spike in protein synthesis than let that opportunity for growth go to waste. I feel it might make a difference 5-10 yrs from now. Paranoid? Maybe lol

  • Yes I just implemented morning fasting. I never thought I could do it but it’s really helped with my hunger and I love it. Great video!

  • 4:49 “WHen they eat earlier in the morning and starving all day, going to the bed starving, it might be worth trying IF” > That’s exactly the reason why I started IF and TBH was the best thing I have ever done which changed in my routine. I used to have 6 healthy meals a day as everyone used to state that it was the optimal food intake for bodybuilding and ppl who lift heavy. However, as I had to keep my calories low to lose fat, I always ended up having very low calory intake at night, when my calory window was about to finish. By going to sleep with light meals, the hunger actually prevented me to fall asleep. The result was that I was actually starving to death untill 2 am and I had to go to the kitchen at that time to snack some BS rice cracker every single day. IF has changed my life for a much better lifestyle, and I couldnt’be in better shape. I have been experiencing a much better muscle delevopment since then.

  • im a big breakfast eater by nature however when i want to drop some calories from my day to get leaner i use breakfast as the meal to do it with for the most part. Not because i think IF works i dont give a fuck about that its just allows me to still eat enough around my evening training as ive found it difficult in the past to drop calories at this time. This isnt to get stage lean just leaner than i am currently. And it works for me. i have no better or worse concentration i have no better or worse energy its just caloric management my way no magic no outrageous claims. If im really hungry when i wake up i just have a whey shake in water but thats rare and usually only if i do a bit more volume than intended. I dont know if this would be optimal if i was trying to gain lean mass though thats a different animal.

  • I have been Intermittent fasting for 6 months, I lost 55 pounds and actually my muscles grew twice as much!! Definitely recommend it to anyone!!

  • I think we can figure it out because people like me who works rotating shift date and night can’t get used to a good diet but thank you really helpful